This letter was published in Current Archaeology 213 December 2007, 49.
Although Tim Darvill’s article on the Stonehenge bluestones made some interesting points, we were never told just why he thought the stones had healing powers, or indeed how these powers were supposed to have been utilised. Perhaps he thinks they were (Harumph), ‘ritual’ powers!
Surely some tests should be conducted to ascertain if the stones possess any property that ancient man might have discovered to be beneficial. After all, ancient man was no more stupid than we are today, and apparently bizarre ancient remedies have often been found to have a genuine therapeutic action. Until we have such proof I suggest that we assume the attraction of the stones was aesthetic/decorative, or that they derived from the homeland of the Stonehenge circle builder.
…and the size of the rocks is no big deal. At comparable periods the ancient Egyptians were moving much bigger stones much further, and not always by water (surely the medium primarily employed to move the bluestones).